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Old August 3rd, 2010, 12:33 PM   #1
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Mac Pro Hard Disk Drive configurations

Hello -

Seeking advice here as to what the best configurations would be for a (2009) Mac Pro in regards to HDD configurations.

I know the OS/Apps go on it's own drive, but what would be the optimal configuration for utilizing the (3) remaining drive bays in the tower and what, if any, external setup you would recommend.

Also, if you have suggestions in regards to specific types/brands of HDD's, external enclosures types/brands, etc..., that would be most helpful as well.

Budget = minimal of course!! Just looking for solutions that are reliable, fast and economical. Doesn't need to be "top of the line" as probably 99% of my stuff will be editing with 8-bit video sources, 16-bit audio sources and various photos, artwork and some AE stuff too....if any of this matters.

Appreciate any suggestions/advice.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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I have Drive 1 as the O/S drive and Drives 2, 3 & 4 in a RAID (RAID 0 for speed). This gives me a 2TB boot drive for O/S and personal data (this gets backedup using Time Machine) and then a single 6TB RAID drive for the video stuff.

Externally I have a Drobo S (connected via eSata, but Firewire is OK too) with 5x 2TB HDDs in it.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 07:10 PM   #3
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Andrew,

Try this as a general rough guide to get you through this process:

Grumpy Quail: Setting up your Computer for HD Video Editing
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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Robert -

First, thanks for the link. As I was checking it out, I noticed that you stated to keep the Project Files on the same HDD as the OS/Apps.

Question; wouldn't it be better to keep the OS/Apps HDD separate from the Project Files? What's your reasoning behind that?

I'm not criticizing here; just curious because doing research on this it seems that editors are adamant about keeping the OS/Apps HDD with just those and nothing more.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:24 AM   #5
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You can put the project file where-ever you like that is easy for you to remember and not in a place that other software might consider it to be "excess" data such as some of the less-than-reliable third-party disc utilities out there, in single-drive systems you don't have a choice.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Clark View Post
Question; wouldn't it be better to keep the OS/Apps HDD separate from the Project Files? What's your reasoning behind that?
I'll side with Robert on this one and here's why:
IF you have a drive failure, it's at least SOMEWHAT reassuring to have either the project file OR the captured media with which to rebuild. If a drive containing the media AND the project fails, EVERYTHING is lost (instead of JUST ABOUT everything...)
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Partington View Post
I have Drive 1 as the O/S drive and Drives 2, 3 & 4 in a RAID (RAID 0 for speed). This gives me a 2TB boot drive for O/S and personal data (this gets backedup using Time Machine) and then a single 6TB RAID drive for the video stuff.

Externally I have a Drobo S (connected via eSata, but Firewire is OK too) with 5x 2TB HDDs in it.
Thanks for the reply Dave.

Question.....in bays 2,3,4 you stated you RAID-ed those drives in a RAID 0. What are you using it for .... capture, projects, media?

Also, have you used any other external solutions other than the Drobo S?
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Old August 5th, 2010, 03:26 AM   #8
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Mac Pro Drive Arrangements for FCP

I have a 2009 Mac Pro 8-core Nehalem 2.66Ghz with 12GB RAM and four 1 TB Drives in. OSX is on Bay 1. Photos and other stuff is on Bay 2. Bays 3 and 4 are in a RAID 0 (not an Apple RAID card but software) and has my working media and project files on them - everything to do with current client FCP projects - and I typically edit in a 1080p25 XDCAM timeline. Attached, via FW800 are two, sometimes 3, G-RAID3 (or identical G-RAID4) units, each 2TB and various 1TB (non-raided) drives...I seem to have a lot of them all over the place now!

During a project everything lives in a "Master project folder" I create on the Mac Pro's RAID 0 but at very regular intervals (daily) a complete "clone" (or just any major changes) of the project is backed up onto AT LEAST ONE of the external G-RAIDs, typically two and onto another external drive (single drives). I also always have ALL my raw media (XDCAM EX3 BPAVs and Canon 7D) backed up onto optical discs (DVD-DLs). I like to sleep soundly...

So if something goes wrong I've got SEVERAL places to recover my project from (or can hook up my MBP to one of the external drives and hopefully pick it up from there).

If I have a real disaster, I can always use the raw clips on the DVD-DLs and do the whole thing again in Vegas 9e on my i7 Windows 7 box - but that would be a last resort!!!! (not because I don't also love Vegas but of all the hassle it would be to remake an edit from scratch - we've all had that once I'm sure).

I'm not saying this is the most optimal Mac Pro set-up for my hard drives (internal and external) - Dave's sounds pretty good - but it works really well for me and has been, touch wood, rock solid in both stability and performance - and a real joy to use too!
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Old August 5th, 2010, 12:21 PM   #9
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Hey Andy - (cool name by the way!!)

Thanks for your reply....most helpful as well.

Checked out your website; very nice work you do!! And that is quite the setup you have in your edit suite. I am also looking into an "external" configuration as well. There seems to be a couple of ways to go:

FW800
eSATA

Are you using just FW800 or are you also using eSATA as well?

I realize that your external array is the G-Raid series which, I believe, is Hitachi based. Any particular brand of HDD's you use/recommend in your internal / Mac Pro tower setup?
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Old August 5th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #10
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Thanks for the nice compliments about my website and commercial work :-)

I tried eSATA (with my MBP) and had lots of issues with it (or maybe the Sonnet Expresscard 34 adapter I was using...it's all documented on here some time ago - seemed very unreliable) so reverted to FW800 even though all my GRAIDs have eSATA connection too.

Hitachi is the name I'd trust with HDDs - got loads of them in lots of things and NEVER had a problem.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Clark View Post
Thanks for the reply Dave.

Question.....in bays 2,3,4 you stated you RAID-ed those drives in a RAID 0. What are you using it for .... capture, projects, media?
Actually all of the above as required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Clark View Post
Also, have you used any other external solutions other than the Drobo S?
It depends what you want. I also have an eSata dock connected so that I can copy to raw hard disks. This dock also takes USB but eSata is faster.

For proper backup I'm using an LTO-4 drive.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
During a project everything lives in a "Master project folder" I create on the Mac Pro's RAID 0 but at very regular intervals

You clearly take a lot of care with your project organisation Andy, but if that "everything" includes the project's autosave vault then it might still be worth your additional effort of not actually working from a project file in that same physical location ... I know I'd hate to lose a whole day's work if my RAID fell over ... as a matter of best practice it's generally wisest to keep them separate, then back up that working file to your master project folder at the end of the day.

Just my unwanted 0.5c on the topic

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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #13
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I would echo what andy mees says. While my project files, capture files and render files can all live on the raid, my auto save files go to my boot drive.

I also keep a good backup of my raid drives offline when ever significant changes have been made to any project.

Also, I have SmartReporter installed to keep an eye on my HDDs so that if they ever become sub-optimal it will warn you and you can plan on replacing the failing drive.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #14
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Thanks for the warning guys! Yes, the autosave files go to my boot drive....I'm pretty sure....going to check now. What a useful place this is!
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Old August 7th, 2010, 08:42 AM   #15
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I'm new to final cut so excuse my probably dumb question. Are the autosave files usually large or pretty small? I'm sure this probably depends on the size of the project.
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